JOHANNESBURG – The chairman of the African Union, who is also the president of South Africa on Monday, called for the unconditional lifting of sanctions on Sudan and Zimbabwe.
“As we deal with the impact of this [novel coronavirus] pandemic, we repeat our call for the unconditional lifting of sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe and Sudan,” Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address marking Africa Day.
The US has sanctions imposed on Sudan, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism, while Zimbabwe was sanctioned for rights abuses and irregular elections during the leadership of late President Robert Mugabe.
As a result of the sanctions, the two African countries cannot access much-needed aid to fight COVID-19 and purchase medical supplies. About 96,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Africa and almost 3,000 have died.
Ramaphosa also called on developed countries, multilateral institutions and donors to provide vulnerable countries — especially in Africa — with the necessary support in the form of diagnostic and therapeutic medical supplies.
He also said they could assist with the necessary financial support to sustain the livelihoods of vulnerable people.
“We repeat our call for a comprehensive, robust economic stimulus package for Africa that includes debt relief and other support measures for the continent’s immediate humanitarian needs and necessary economic recovery,” he appealed.
Ramaphosa urged African leaders to ensure that the pandemic did not reverse developmental gains.
“We must not under any circumstances allow this global health emergency to derail our efforts to silence the guns on the continent,” He said.
Ramaphosa said tragic conflicts must end as they destabilized a number of African countries and exacted a heavy toll on human life.
“We must continue to affirm the supremacy of dialogue over military intervention,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that as Africans, they would continue to stand on the side of justice and called for an end of the oppression of the Palestinian people and occupation of their homeland.